Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Update on AZGOP National Committeeman and CD8 Candidates

The latest word on the street is that Bruce Ash has definitely thrown his hat into the ring to be considered for the national committeeman slot. Randy Graf is still not fully committed, but so close we think he will be in by Saturday's meeting. Bruce Ash and Bill Montgomery stand to gain in the position since they both plan to run for office again and would like the opportunity to hobnob with potential state and national contributors. Bill understands the benefits of funding campaigns outside of Clean Elections having run a Clean Elections campaign in the last election. Bruce is talking about funding a good chunk of his own campaign. Randy Graf is clearly looking for a broader opportunity to be involved and influential in the party beyond Arizona and is giving no indication he his running for public office.

As for the CD8 congressional race, Bruce Ash is definitely in, and, despite the rumors, Randy Graf is definitely not in. Bee is said to have the Click money in his pocket, so to speak. Of course, that didn't help Huffman, but then Huffman had other problems to overcome.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

For Reps, it's Graft; for Dems, they're Perks

Tom DeLay took a trip to Scotland paid for by lobbyists. It was considered graft. Now the Democrats are in power and they've decided to clean things up. They passed rules prohibiting lobbyists from paying for lawmaker's trips. Now the graft is gone. The only things left are perks. If you're receiving perks, it can't be graft.

So Congressman Hoyer's golf outing to Puerto Rico with lobbyists who contributed to a PAC that paid for Hoyer's trip is a perk. Congressman Thomas Carper's annual ski trip to Colorado paid for by $5,000 contributions from lobbyists is, likewise, a perk. Of course, rock concerts, $5,000 per lobbyist hunting and fishing trips, a California wine-tasting tour, golf tournaments, Broadway shows, and parties in Miami’s South Beach are all perks.

Of course not everything has been a perk. U.S. House members took trips in January that included airfare, meals and lodging from special interests in blatant violation of the rules. I guess these trips fell into the "grandfathered graft" category.

Thank goodness for Nancy Pelosi who cleaned up the corruption in Washington.

Employee Free Choice Act Threatens Employees

According to the BLR, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace are challenging HR800, the Employee Free Choice Act, which is supposed to make it easier for unions to organize. The key here is that it forces employees to declare their vote publicly which seems to fly in the face of a fundamental democratic principle that a person's vote is nobody's business but his or her own.

Understandably, unions, whose membership now only constitutes 7.3% of all non-governmental workers are looking for anything that can stop the hemorrhaging. Unfortunately, this legislation can just as easily work to the advantage of employers as the unions. Let's face it, a public vote can be much more easily influenced than a secret vote. If employers are afraid that union organizers might use intimidation techniques to influence employee voters, union organizers should be just as concerned about threats of employer retaliation against those supporting a union. In both cases, the employee is caught in the middle and is the one standing to lose regardless of how the vote turns out.

The Employee Free Choice Act appears more like the Employee COERCED Choice Act painting a target on every employee willing to participate in the election—not an enviable position for any employee. The current method with secret ballots prevents this from happening. In this case, we might even say, "If it's not broke, don't break it.

UPDATE: Shadegg weighs in on the issue.

Monday, February 26, 2007

I Say Give Them More Rope!

I Say Give Them More Rope!

By Frank Antenori

February 25, 2007

Strange things happened this past election cycle. One of the strangest was the large number of Democrats running as “moderates” and “conservatives.” We saw Rep. Raum Emmanuel (DCCC) and Sen. Charles Schumer (DSCC) skillfully guide their respective candidates to avoid those far left issues that almost two-thirds of main stream Americans simply can’t accept. Gun control, abortion on demand, raising taxes, amnesty for illegal aliens and cutting funding to our troops in the field were taboo subjects on the Democrat campaign trail; unless of course you took a conservative tone when discussing them.

Numerous Democrats, including Arizona’s own Gabrielle Giffords sounded more like Republicans with their get tough on illegal immigration and strong talk on national security. The media facilitated the facade by casting the image of these Democrat candidates as soft and cuddly moderates; while at the same time, vilifying their Republican opponents as harsh, right wing ideologues.

During the candidate forums before both the primary and general elections, Ms. Giffords skillfully avoided answering specific questions related to those sensitive topics by interjecting little stories of her days shoveling horse crap or changing tires in Daddy’s tire shop. Numerous times I sat amazed, knowing she clearly dodged the question, as her Kool-aid drinking minions applauded and the dumbfounded moderator refused to hold her accountable. Ms. Giffords was truly the queen of the “gray area.”

Since the November election, Democrats have tried to maintain this gray area by proposing a worthless and meaningless “non-binding resolution” on Iraq. Instead of showing leadership by exercising their Constitutional authority to cut off funding or offering a specific plan for dealing with Iraq, they continued with the tactics that they believe brought them to power; attacking the President. After all, why show leadership and possibly do something that voters might hold you accountable for when you could slap around the President a few more times?

Speaker Pelosi, so far, has done a masterful job keeping the “lefty” inside of her party from rearing its ugly head, knowing if it does it will be a disaster for the ’08 Congressional and Presidential elections.

But the Dems can’t help it. The “want America to fail” socialist and communist inside them just begs to escape. In the past few weeks, more and more left wing Democrats have submitted legislation that has begun to bring down the Democrat’s “Moderate” House of Cards.

Rep. McCarthy (D-NY) introduced H.R. 1022, a bill with the stated purpose, "to reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes" a.k.a. “take your guns.” Legislation identical to the same legislation Bill Clinton himself said cost them control of the House in 1994.

This past week, AZ Reps. Pastor, Grijalva and Mitchell stood beside Nancy Pelosi and bragged how the Democrat’s “comprehensive” immigration reform bill would overturn Proposition 300, the Arizona initiative passed overwhelmingly by voters that requires illegal immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition to attend college and prohibits state aid.

Pastor and Grijalva bragged their legislation will include provisions that would allow “undocumented” students who grow up in the United States and graduate from high school to pay in-state college tuition and be eligible for Pell grants. Strangely, only three of the four Arizona Democrats were present at the event. Hmmm… anyone see Ms. Giffords? I guess she’s still in the incumbent protection program and trying to stay in the gray on the immigration issue.

Rep. John Murtha couldn’t be kept at bay any longer either and has announced the Democrat’s "second step" against President Bush's Iraq policy will be to cut funding for the war in Iraq, and essentially starve our troops into a withdrawal from the region. Murtha’s policy of slowly “bleeding” the Pentagon dry by imposing specific restrictions on defense spending will have no effect other than to deny our troops in harms needed supplies and equipment. In essence, the only “bleeding” Murtha’s plan will accomplish will be the blood from brave men and women the Democratic Party plans to abandon once again.

Republicans in both the House and the Senate have said they will try every parliamentary tactic available to stop the Democrats from bringing this legislation to the floor of either body for a vote. I ask why?

Why not let them bring it to a vote. Ardently oppose it during the debate process, but give ‘em all the rope they want and let them vote.

No more gray area for Ms. Giffords. She’ll be unable to come back here to Arizona and put on this facade that she’s tough on illegal immigration and strong on national security. She’ll be forced to place her vote in history.

How will she explain her vote to give amnesty and our tax dollars to illegal aliens so they can go to college when most tax paying Arizonans will have to dig into their own pockets if they want to send their kids to the University of Arizona?

She’ll have to come back here and defend her vote for cutting funds to our troops and supporting the cut and run policy of her party. She’ll have a hard time doing it too with the large number of veterans, active duty military and defense contractors in her district. Not to mention that myself and the recently returned from Iraq, Jonathan Paton will be here with our real world experience and first hand knowledge to point out how wrong she and her party are when it comes to the war on terror.

So once again I say give them as much rope as they want and let them vote. Let them show their true colors, let the American people see them for what they are. A party that hates the President more than the enemy we are fighting, a party that favors illegal aliens over the taxpayers and a party that favors taking your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms while giving Constitutional rights to terrorists held at Gitmo.

So I say to my fellow Republicans and our GOP leaders in Washington, keep giving them rope and we’ll see who wins the next election.

Frank Antenori is a retired Special Forces Soldier and veteran of Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also a former candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Congressional District Eight.

New Site for NW Tucson GOP Happenings

A new source for Republican events in Northwest Tucson has been created through the Oro Valley Republican Club which voted Saturday to provide a website. You can check it out at

Thanks to the Oro Valley Republican Club for providing this.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lieberman Applying the Pressure to Anti-war Dems

Senator Lieberman is putting the strong-arm on Harry Reid as the senate prepares another round in the anti-war battle. Here's what he said about switching parties in the Report from Carrie Budoff of The Politico:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut told the Politico on Thursday that he has no immediate plans to switch parties but suggested that Democratic opposition to funding the war in Iraq might change his mind...

“I have no desire to change parties,” Lieberman said in a telephone interview. “If that ever happens, it is because I feel the majority of Democrats have gone in a direction that I don’t feel comfortable with.”

Asked whether that hasn’t already happened with Iraq, Lieberman said: “We will see how that plays out in the coming months,” specifically how the party approaches the issue of continued funding for the war.

Although Time reported that Lieberman said his allying with the GOP was "a very remote possibility," the senator is now changing his tune to "I have no desire or intention to leave the Democratic Party or the Democratic caucus. I hope and believe we'll never get to that point, so I believe this latest flurry is much ado about nothing."

At this point, it doesn't matter much what he says. Lieberman has created enough concern among Democrat leaders to get their attention.

John Shadegg on Kennedy's Immigration Bill

Shadegg Condemns Extremist New Senate Immigration Bill
Calls on White House to reject proposal-politicizes issue

U.S. Congressman John Shadegg issued the following statement yesterday regarding the proposed new Senate immigration bill:

"As revealed in press reports today, Senator Ted Kennedy's new immigration bill is an extreme measure which will move this issue in the exact wrong direction. The last thing we need in this important debate is a more radical proposal. Unfortunately, that is exactly what this is.

"Americans are compassionate and realistic. They recognize that trying to round up and ship home millions of illegals who have entered this country over the last several decades is impractical and unrealistic, and would damage America's economy. However, rewarding them with an even easier path to citizenship than last year's proposal and reducing enforcement, as this bill would do, similarly makes no sense.

"Both survey data and experts confirm that the vast majority of those who have entered this country illegally do not want, and are not asking for, an expedited path to citizenship. Rather, what they want is the ability to work legally in this country to support their families and to be able to go back and forth to their homes without the fear of being arrested or detained.

"I have worked closely with Elias Bermudez, one of the leading immigration advocates in the nation for years, and he has repeatedly made it clear that the vast majority of illegals are not seeking citizenship and that those who are are satisfied with current law. Mr. Bermudez works with both legal and illegal immigrants every day. They want to escape the threat of being arrested and deported; they want to be able to work and travel home lawfully.

"By creating an 'easier path to citizenship' proponents of this bill are advancing a political agenda, not addressing the real concerns of those affected by current law. Making it even easier for people who entered the country illegally to become citizens is a slap in the face to all U.S. citizens and especially to those who entered lawfully. The proposed new Senate bill will deepen the divide on this issue and make passing reasonable legislation harder, not easier.

"I have spoken with the White House on this issue and it is my understanding that the President does not favor creating an easier pathway to citizenship. If that is correct, the White House should reject this proposal. The White House has already lost many Republicans on this issue. Now is the time for the President to make it clear that he is not seeking to reward illegals with an expedited path to citizenship.

"I have also spoken with my colleagues in the House and Senate who supported the Senate bill last year and urged them not to embrace legislation creating an even easier pathway to citizenship. Given that illegals neither need nor are demanding an expedited path to citizenship, and that passing reasonable legislation as soon as possible is important to them, this bill hurts rather than helps their cause.

"I urge the media and my colleagues in Congress to examine the facts. Talk to those who are in the country, working here illegally today and find out for yourselves whether they are actually asking for an expedited path to citizenship. Then I hope those who say they want to resolve this issue will disavow this latest extreme initiative and work to pass responsible legislation."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Who In So. AZ Wants to be National Committeeman?

So far, we know of Bill Montgomery's interest in picking up the open national committeeman slot. We believe he has actually turned his name in and is serious about going after it. Bill has a lot to gain by getting involved at this level and probably sees it as a springboard to another run at state Attorney General. His disadvantage might be that with two votes already coming from Maricopa, there will be considerable pressure to reach outside for the third RNC representative, especially with southern Arizonans looking for more, not less, representation.

From southern Arizona we know there is interest from Mike Hellon, Randy Graf and Bruce Ash. Mike, with his previous experience in the post, certainly shows up as a strong candidate. He hasn't suggested any interest in running for other positions, so it's a good bet he will throw his hat in the ring even though we haven't heard that he has actually submitted his name. Perhaps he will let us know in a future post.

Randy Graf is still deciding whether or not he wants the position. With his name recognition, strong party following, and legislative experience, he, too, would be a strong candidate. At the same time, he serves on both the Pima County and state GOP executive committees, so he certainly doesn't need the position to remain active in the party. Randy has not formally submitted his name either and we think there's a reasonable chance he won't. Maybe he will surprise us in one of his future posts.

Bruce Ash is considering the opportunity probably as a means of becoming more involved, making national party connections, and getting his name known among party activists in preparation for the next CD8 race. One challenge he would run into is trying to run his campaign while finishing his term as national committeeman, provided he got the nod. To our knowledge, he hasn't turned in his name to Linda White, the official name turn in person (ONTIP). His might be a little more of a long shot simply because he hasn't had the involvement and recognition of other candidates.

We have heard that nominations will not be ready for the March 3rd state executive committee meeting. That won't be a problem since the next RNC meeting is still 6 months away, but, hopefully we'll know more long before then.

It's Early, But It's What We Do.

OK, are you ready to dive into speculation on the 2008 District 8 Congressional race? Let's get this party started.

There have been quite a few names bandied about as who may be possible candidates on the Republican side. I intend to clarify things a bit.

The first point of fact is that this race is going to be expensive. Giffords will have money pouring into the district from many outside sources. I do not believe it too presumptuous to think that the price to play in the Republican primary is going to be upwards of one million dollars, before even the PAC money is given to the winner of the primary. This eliminates many people right away. As much as we love them, Mike Hellon and Frank Antenori will not be able to compete with those stakes. And although there have been rumblings, this will most likely leave out Ray Carrol as well. His base is local, and is not moneyed enough to get him to a million. In my opinion, that leaves us with exactly three possibilities.

1. Tim Bee. Although getting to a million may prove difficult, I believe he can get there as long as he begins the chase early enough. He knows many of the state players and should be able to extract donations. He is also pretty popular in the area and has a solid record of legislative success, which may contrast nicely if Giffords proves lackluster in her first term.

The downside for Bee is that with his leadership position, early campaigning may be a problem due to his being needed in the senate. He would hardly be allowed to put up a Steve Huffman-like attendance record from his position of responsibility. The leadership position, however, does give him a chance to serve Southern Arizona more directly and address our needs in particular, which could shine on the stump. It is a double-edged sword.

2. Jonathan Paton- (Welcome Back Jonathan) Of all those named, I believe that Paton will have the easiest time getting the needed funds. With his backstory, he could probably reach the needed number from out-of-state donations alone. How many Iraqi vets are out there with Legislative experience, and a polished campaign manner? You can bet that the NRCC would give its left arm to have him as the eventual candidate just to nationalize him.

It appears that in-state money probably won't be much of a problem either. In looking at the sponsors of his Welcome Back Fiesta in Phoenix, I see many of the players you may want to see in your corner when thinking about running.

The only advice I would give to Paton is to review the game film from the last primary. It is quite an easy thing to become over confident in your early advantages. Make sure that you appear often in front of the people that you intend to represent.

3. Bruce Ash- I haven't heard a lot said about the possible candidacy of Bruce, but it is extremely likely. He has the ultimate advantage that he would be able to self-fund any shortfall that he doesn't get from fund raising. His status as a successful business man should help him squeeze more money out of his circle of close contacts. Bruce will likely look to position himself to gather many of the previous Graf primary voters, and with no Legislative commitment, he can begin introducing himself to the voters early and often.

And should you doubt the power of Bruce Ash, remember that he obtained the anonymous Framer's cell phone number and talked him into going on the radio, which was not an inconsiderable feat.

So there you have it: Bee, Paton, and Ash. Unless there are any other thoughts to who I am missing.

Study in Contrasts

I found this information from the PAC tracker referenced by HOT AZ it Gets

Here is the money donated by the Arizona State Democratic Central Executive committee to individual candidates during the last election cycle:

Contributions To Candidates By
1. Senate PEDERSON, JIM DEM $10,000
2. Dist 01 SIMON, ELLEN DEM $10,000
3. Dist 05 MITCHELL, HARRY E DEM $20,000
4. Dist 08 GIFFORDS, GABRIELLE DEM $10,000

And here is the amount donated by the Arizona State Republican Party:

Contributions To Candidates By
1. Senate KYL, JON REP Incumbent $298
2. Dist 07 DRAKE, RON REP $5,000
3. Dist 08 GRAF, RANDALL RANDY REP $4,500
1. Dist 50 BILBRAY, BRIAN P REP $5,000
1. Dist 07 ODONNELL, RICK REP $5,000

Because we were doing so well that we had the money, means, and time to involve ourselves in California and Colorado politics.

I'm not sure what the thought process was behind this, but I hope to see money given to the state party used in the state from now on.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

State Party Update

We called the state party office a short time ago looking for some specific information about the last election cycle. We were not able to get the information that we were looking for, but we did learn some interesting things.

It appears that the office is staffed with temporary workers until the full time staff can be hired, it appears that outside of Sean MacCaffrey, there have been no new permanent hires.

Additionally, it looks like those who are in the building have been furiously engaged under the direction of Timothy Lee, the new treasurer, to make some sense and order of the financial records as they are in seriously bad and disorganized shape. Currently, Tim is doing the audit for 2004 and it is taking far longer than it should have do to the state of the records. He hopes to have the audit for 2004 done in time for the March 3rd Executive Committee Meeting as well as some of 2005.

Obviously, this is something that should have been in order and taken care of long before now. It is an embarrassment for those in charge of past audits, and those tasked with following up to make sure it was completed. Thank goodness Timothy Lee hit the ground running and will get this done. I suspect that he will not allow this type of sloppiness to occur under his watch.

It also may explain a bit about the angst of the former Financial Director and the manner of her exit. I wouldn't want to stick around and take responsibility for that type of work either.

To Tim's credit, he said nothing negative about his predecessors, and I do not believe that he realized he was speaking to a blogger. This shows that he wasn't willing to throw anybody under the bus, even "off the record." We are probably pretty lucky to have him aboard.

Whoever Said "Crime Doesn't Pay" Didn't Know Our Border Security Policy

Somebody, please help me understand our wacky border enforcement policies. According to news reports, here's what we are dealing with:

1) We have 6,000 National Guardsmen on the border. In recent months, the news has reported guardsmen being approached at a station by armed illegals. Once, the guardsmen had rocks thrown at them. On another occasion, they were fired at and quickly left the scene. Most recently, they were approached by armed smugglers and called the Border Patrol to have them take care of it.

Now, why do we have the National Guard on the border? Installing a camera would be a lot cheaper.

2) US Attorney Johnny Sutton prosecuted Texas Deputy Sheriff Hernandez for firing on a van full of illegals that witnesses said tried to run him down. Instead of throwing the illegals in jail, all were given amnesty in exchange for giving bogus testimony against Hernandez.

Border Patrol agent David Sipe's conviction was recently overturned. Seven years ago, Sipe, along with his partner and two other agents, responded to a motion sensor alarm finding 12-15 illegal aliens crossing the border. Most of the illegals surrendered, but several ran into a patch of tall dense reeds. Sipe stated he struggled with a man and hit him over the head with his flashlight in order to subdue him. US Attorney Mervyn Mosbacker Jr. prosecuted the case and prevailed by bribing drug smugglers to testify against Sipe and then lied to the court about it. Mosbacker promised the smugglers Social Security cards, witness fees, permits allowing travel to and from Mexico and travel to North Carolina, living expenses and free use of government phones. He then lied to the court with a written affidavit stating that no promises or advantages were given to the illegals. The appeals court ruled that this, along with failing to disclose that coyote smuggler, Guevara, was caught by Border Patrol agents smuggling illegal aliens and was released because he showed them his 'get out of jail card' given to him by Mosbacker—kind of a 'gotcha' moment, was enough to overturn the conviction. Of course, Guevara had already been given $80,000 of our tax money to purchase a nice ranch in Mexico.

Not surprisingly, Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are being tried by the same prosecutor who has been using the same techniques he used on Sipe. Ramos and Compean were convicted of shooting drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete, while he was smuggling 743 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. Aldrete was given immunity from prosecution for testifying against the agents, given free passage back and forth across the border, flown to the United States for medical treatment, and allowed to continue his smuggling activities.

Interestingly, this does not appear to be simply an issue with one overly-aggressive federal prosecutor. The US Department of Homeland Security has admitted it lied to Congress when DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner testified before the Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee admitting that the charges he and his agency brought against the agents were false and that DHS agents had fabricated the evidence used to convict Compean and Ramos. Skinner said that his DHS agents had "misinformed" Congress. Skinner has also said that his staff lied to him and other lawmakers several months ago when they claimed Ramos and Compean were rogue cops and had bragged before the incident that they wanted "to shoot a Mexican," and that the statements were unsubstantiated.

3) The Bush administration wants to grant amnesty for all the illegals already here. Gabby Giffords wants to punish employers for hiring illegal aliens. Neither seems to want to close the border to drug smugglers and terrorists. And I'm sorry, Gabby, but, as far as we know, drug smugglers and terrorists don't seem to predominate the meat packing plants.

Some are pretty worked up about the situation. Congressman Culberson, of Texas, has called for the Skinner and his deputies to resign. Congressman Rohrabacher, from California, threatened to push for impeachment of President Bush if either Ramos or Camean is killed in prison. And there appears to be plenty of support for pardoning both agents suggesting others feel something isn't quite right.

It appears that those most charged with securing our borders are more concerned about preventing it. Maybe someone can explain this to me. Is the problem simply gross incompetence, or is there something else going on? It all seems pretty wacky no matter how I look at it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

"Flap" in the Legislature

Note- I had to edit this post to placate the sarcasm impaired.

State Democrats appear to be up in arms about something new. Surprisingly it has even earned the "for the children" designation.

Democratic Rep. Theresa Ulmer of Yuma supported the amendment and said it fit with lawmakers' other efforts to crack down on pornography and sexual predators.

The goal of the ammendment:

"I personally am tired of explaining to my 11-year-old son why they (women) are depicted on mudflaps , but not all women are 36Ds. He's very confused by that," Ulmer said. "But seriously, this is about family values -- what are we going to send out as a message to our children."

The language of the amendment would have banned obscene or hateful language from appearing on the mudflaps of motor vehicles. It would be interesting to see how "obscene or hateful" would have been determined and quantified.

I'd start here:

Romney Another Reagan?

A couple of months ago, I dismissed Romney groupies' comments as wishful thinking that Mitt Romney was going to get the GOP nod despite the McCain/Guilliani money and recognition machine. After all, how could a little-known first term Governor from Massachussetts expect to compete with Maverick McCain and Mr. 9-11? And how many really paid attention to the Salt Lake Olympics turnaround story that now fades in the memories of those who did?

I have heard Mitt on live radio interviews on several occasions and have always been impressed with his ability to articulate responses to tough questions while keeping the positive vibes alive. But I never heard or saw anything like the clip of Mitt fielding questions in person from Don Imus last November. Wow, was that a performance! I don't know if Mitt was just incredibly well prepared, or if he simply is that good on his feet, but if it's the latter, McCain and Guilliani better get prepared.

Don Imus wasn't there to play nerf ball. In the interview he hit Mitt on the big three: gay marriage, abortion, and the war in Iraq. Mitt managed to slip in a serious statement here and there in direct response to Don's questions, but rather than a political discussion, the exchange seemed more like a feature interview for man of the year.

I have changed my opinion that McCain is the only candidate who can beat Hillary. Watching Mitt manage Don Imus, I saw flashbacks of 'The Gipper'. Despite reports from Fox News, Bill (Clinton), forget about that appointment from Eliot Spitzer. There now appear to be plenty of candidates to ensure you won't be taking Hillary's place anytime soon.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Couple of Micconceptions

There are a few things that need to be cleared up on the Senate Iraq Debate.

1. This debate needed to happen when General Petraeus was confirmed by the Senate. If you did not like his plan, you should have told him at that point and denied his appointment. He didn't lie to anyone about his intentions. He was going to implement the Surge, and thus far has done an admirable job. If the Senate wanted to ACTUALLY STOP the surge, this was the chance.

Of course this never was about actually stopping the surge or doing anything but embarrassing the President in a manner that carried no risks to the Senate malcontents. Congratulations, Cowards. I hope my Democratic friends are proud of these Profiles in Courage.

2. Not allowing cloture on a bill is not "cutting off debate" no matter how many times Harry Reid or the Headline writers at AP say it is. It is in fact forcing more debate. In particular is the fact that Harry Reid is preventing further amendments and legislation to come forward other than the defeatist inconsequential nattering that passes for legislation in the 110th. Harry and his Democratic allies are, in fact, hoping to cut off debate. Anything said to the contrary is either said by the misinformed or those attempting to misinform.

3. John McCain not attending the vote today is of no consequence. He is the reason that Harry is going to fail. When the landslide of negativity was rumbling, he alone stepped forward and gave backbone to the senate which was quickly moving to the Warner disaster. Because of him, the Warner bill will die a deserved death, and Reid will be foiled. He knew the votes, and did his needed work early. He deserves to take a Saturday off.

Additionally, it would be nice for all of the constant McCain critics to give the man his due here. If one wishes to influence his behavior in a positive manner, reward him when he gets it right, he may be tempted to see things your way next time.

Friday, February 16, 2007

McCain's New Digs

McCain has a new website:

I bet he payed a cybersquatter a hefty sum for the domain. Pay special attention to the virtual McCain that greets you as you access the site. Overall, it appears well done.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Target: Barbara LaWall

It's perhaps not a great secret, but current Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall has a great big bullseye on her back. Although she ran almost unopposed a little over two years ago, she will not have that luxury this time around.

It is well known that Ex-Pima County Democratic Chief Paul Eckerstrom has been ramping up for a primary challenge, but we may even have a at least one Republican challenger stepping forward as well, former Pima County Prosecutor Brad Roach.

Roach left the Prosecutor's office almost two years ago and founded the Leonardo and Roach Law Office Apparently, Roach and Eckerstrom are good friends despite their party differences.

I spoke to another former prosecutor a while back about this issue and he told me that Barbara, despite her past scandals would always be tough to beat. "She only actually attends to county business about 10 hours a week. The rest of the time she is in constant campaign mode, speaking at every Chamber of Commerce, neighborhood watch group, or Bar-Mitzvahs that will have her. " She is very conscious of her public image, almost obsessive, and has in the past just plain outworked her competition on the campaign trail. She will have to work even harder to retain her position this time around.

Roach in particular has an ax to grind. Two years ago, LaWall attempted to terminate his employment after the murder of Dr. Brian Stidham. As far as I can surmise her reasoning was that, because Roach was friends with former Bradley Schwartz girlfriend Lourdes Lopez, he should have been able to prevent the slaying, or at worst figure it out immediately ala Matlock. Of course, after consulting with others with more sense, she reduced the penalty to a three week suspension, which in turn was struck down by the Merit Commission. During her testimony to the merit commission, Lawall was caught lying under oath.

From the Tucson Weekly by the late Chris Limberis:

LaWall testified that she was surprised to learn that word of the discipline--and four prosecutors being escorted out of the Legal Services Building--made the news. She swore that she didn't call or arrange for a call to be made to KGUN reporter Terry Gonzalez in attempt to discover the tipster, whom she believed was Brad Roach.

Roach: My question to you was, my answer to you was Terry Gonzalez from KGUN 9 called me, and then I told you that you've got a leak from somewhere else, right. ... And this, the media event surrounding this thing was so important to you that you not only took my answer, but you called Terry Gonzalez from KGUN to talk to her about it, right?

LaWall: Somebody else in my office called.

Roach: Did you talk to her?

LaWall: No.

Roach: And you had somebody else from the office call and talk to Terry Gonzalez about the media attention?

LaWall: I did not direct anybody else to make that call. They just made the call.

LaWall tried to pin the call on her-then PR man Dan Benavidez, but Gonzalez appeared at the Merit Commission and refuted that.

Gonzalez: The best I can remember is sometime in December, I received a call from Barbara LaWall, her secretary called me and put the call through and said that she needed to talk to me--you want me to go into details?

Roach: Yes, please.

Gonzalez: She wanted to know how I found out about the prosecutors, their discipline on that day. She was baffled and a little bit annoyed, and I told her I couldn't tell her that. ... I clearly stated Brad Roach never called me.

Roach: If Barbara LaWall testified last week and said under oath that she did not call you about this case, your memory would be different?

Gonzalez: Clearly she called me.

The sad thing about this is that it really had no bearing on the perceived case against Roach. Why be untruthful about something that didn't matter? Also, how many County Prosecutors have a PR Man?

Should be a lot more interesting race this time around.

Minimum Wage Fallout

I've been sick for a while, so I was a little delayed on posting this. But I didn't see anyone else do it.

It appears that Arizona's new minimum wage increase has resulted in the laying off of teenage workers. from the article:

Tom Kelly, owner of Mary Coyle Ol' Fashion Ice Cream Parlor in Phoenix, voted for the minimum-wage increase. But he said, "The new law has impacted us quite a bit."

It added about $2,000 per month in expenses. The store, which employs mostly teen workers, has cut back on hours and has not replaced a couple of workers who quit.

Kelly raised the wages of workers who already made above minimum wage to ensure pay scales stayed even. As a result, "we have to be a lot more efficient" and must increase menu prices, he said.

The sad thing about this is that provisions could have been made into the law to account for this. It appears, however, that actual economics and the reality of who is making the minimum wage were not among the chief concerns of this law. Indeed, perhaps the largest impact has been among the disabled.

State lawmakers are wringing their hands and sorting through opinions from legal and labor experts on how to proceed. I have a suggestion:

They might do well to meet people such as Amanda, Jennifer, Lillabee and Sarah.

From assembling aircraft parts to ensuring drug testing kits are in order, the women are part of a thousands-strong work force in Arizona whose employment is in question because employers might be forced to double or triple their hourly wage.

"I can't imagine what we would do," says Dee O'Neill, a Tucson lawyer whose daughter Jennifer has Down syndrome and works five days a week placing colored drug-detecting strips into plastic sleeves. "It would be a disaster."

Now you may want to say, "Evil cooperations! how can you take advantage of the disabled by paying them low wages!" However, raising their pay can problematic, and here is why:

Beyond the issue of hourly compensation, if some of the workers begin earning $6.75 or more an hour, they become ineligible for Social Security benefits and independent living assistance. Their new and improved salary would hardly make up for that.

The legal "oops" is a tragic illustration of what happens when we make laws through initiatives without complete knowledge, or in some cases concern, about the consequences.

Can someone honestly tell me that this resolution was thought through much at all above the feel-good, "look how much we care" aspect? Judging on many of the problems that were predicted, and are now occurring, that doesn't appear to be the case.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

No Iranian Complicity?

It seems that a large number of Austrian made sniper rifles that were sold to Iran, are turning up in large numbers in Iraq

Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon.

Over the last six months American forces have found small caches of the £10,000 rifles but in the last 24 hours a raid in Baghdad brought the total to more than 100, US defence sources reported.

The find is the latest in a series of discoveries that indicate that Teheran is providing support to Iraq's Shia insurgents.

Also, our good friend Muqtada al-Sadr appears to have fled Iraq and landed in Tehran.

The chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq insisted Wednesday that Muqtada al-Sadr has left the country and is believed to be in Iran, despite denials from the radical Shiite cleric's supporters.

The statement by Maj. Gen. William Caldwell came after a U.S. official said al-Sadr left the country some weeks ago and is believed to be in Tehran, where he has family.

The official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. monitoring activities, said fractures in al-Sadr's political and militia operations may be part of the reason for his departure. The move is not believed to be permanent, the official said.

This is actually the best possible outcome. If we killed him, he would have been a martyr. Letting him continue as he was was not a good option. Having him flee like a coward eliminates him as an immediate threat and blunts his influence at least marginally. It is also very clarifying to see who took him in and supports him.

Congratulations General Petraeus. It seems like you plan is right on target so far. Pelosi and company better hurry and condemn it before you have even more success.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Edwards Drags First Snarfy Blogger to Recycle Bin

Cybercast News Service is carrying the flap about Edward's having to encourage one of his snarfy paid bloggers to resign. I guess he didn't want to totally allienate any Catholic voters who might be inclined to support him.

A couple of excerpts from the article: "The Catholic League took particular offense to a Marcotte posting last year that mocked Catholic views on contraception and the Christian belief that Jesus was born of a virgin.

In a more recent posting on Sunday, Marcotte blogged about the movie "Children of Men" and once again took aim at the virgin birth doctrine in a way most Christians would find offensive...

McEwan, meanwhile, has sparked criticism for postings like one from last November in which she called religious conservatives President Bush's "wingnut Christofascist base." McEwan is still employed by the campaign."

With blogging staff like this, who needs Arizona Eighth?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stem Cell Breakthrough

Another breakthrough for decidedly NON-EMBRYONIC Stem Cells

The content of the article will go uncommented on, at least by me.

Proof of Iran Meddling in Iraq

Granted, the source doesn't have the best reputation, but The New York Times is reporting what many have been complaining about for several years—that Iran is behind the nasty armor-splitting bombs responsible for killing and wounding 800 or so American troops.

Officials displayed the bombs last week to show proof of the so-called squat canisters that are designed to "explode and spit out molten balls of copper that cut through armor." Additionally, captured mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades showed serial numbers directly linked to Iran arms factories. Although squat cannisters have been around since at least 2004, last year's casualties from these weapons more than doubled.

Those who believe Iran has no interest in Iraq might also enjoy the cartoon illustrated by cartoonist Ramirez last year. It showed a person reading to his child the final line out of Dems Fairy Tales: "So we immediately withdrew from Iraq and all the terrorists quit and we all lived happily ever after."

NEWS UPDATE: In an exclusive interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refused to address accusations that his country was supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq, saying instead that Iran asked for peace and was against conflict of any kind. Ahmadinejad skirted questions about weapons smuggling and stressed instead that the key to establishing peace in Iraq was for Americans, and all other foreigners, to leave. -ABC

In other news, Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of the Lebanese Islamist party Hezbollah, acknowledged that Iran is sending money and weapons via Syria to Hezbollah.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Randy Pullen Mythbusters

Just thought I'd throw a couple of these out there:

1. Myth- If Randy Pullen is elected he will hire [insert favorite boogeyman] as the executive director as an outrageous political payback.

Truth- Sean McCaffrey is hardly a result of croneyism in any form. In fact he is probably one of the best hires that could have been made under the circumstances.

2. Myth- Pullen brought in Duncan Hunter as a slap in the face to John McCain and to sneer at "moderate" Republicans.

Truth- Hunter was actually rescheduled from a scheduling conflict that occurred last fall, long before Pullen took office. Guiliani is in negotiations currently for a fund raiser coming up soon, as is Romney for a return for later in the year. McCain is tentatively scheduled for the end of the year or the beginning of the next. All candidates are looking to get an equal shot.

3. Myth - If Randy Pullen wins election, he will not do anything for anyone outside of Maricopa County.

Truth- Randy Pullen attended a District 26 meeting right here in Pima county three weeks after being elected. For comparison's sake, Matt Salmon canceled all three trips he was to officially make to district 26 and didn't make it once during his entire tenure. Not a shot at Matt so much as a kudos to Pullen.

So here we are. Many of the disastrous things that were predicted have not happened or were just plain made up, our party is still holding together, and in some areas, a change may in fact be a good thing. If there are other things that anyone feels that Randy Pullen needs to do that involve specific, grounded complaints or observations that are not simply baseless accusations, we would be happy to investigate and report on them, but the previous hysteria seems a little old and. . .

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tancredo's Visit of Beaten Border Agent Ramos

Tancredo's campaign web site reports Congressman Tancredo's visit to Agent Ramos in Yazoo prison. Here's his report:

Congressman: Convicted agent's injuries are worse than reported
(Feb 10, WASHINGTON, DC) - An imprisoned former Border Patrol agent who was beaten in his sleep has injuries that are more serious than previously reported, said a congressman on Friday.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., met with Ignacio Ramos, who was convicted in March for the nonfatal shooting of a Mexican drug smuggler. Ramos is serving an 11-year sentence at Yazoo Correctional Complex in Mississippi.

Tancredo said he was astonished at the injuries on Ramos' body, which he said did not coincide with reports from the prison earlier this week that described his injuries as "minor."

"His bruises were deep and severe," Tancredo said. "His arm, chest and back are black and blue with broken blood vessels on his arm. It was terrible."

Ramos was beaten Saturday night by roughly a half-dozen inmates who recognized him from a TV show that aired shortly before 10 p.m. He was pulled from his cell, which remains unlocked until midnight, by the inmates and kicked repeatedly by the men who were wearing steel-toed boots. The boots are issued to inmates for their daily work, according to the prison's Web site.

Ramos did not see a doctor until Wednesday, Tancredo said.

The prison's warden, Constance Reese, did not return phone calls for comment.

According to a prison press release, "Ramos was evaluated by medical staff at the institution, who determined he had sustained some bruises and abrasions."

Charles Smith, a spokesman for the institution, also said in the release that Ramos' injuries "were minor in nature."

"Inmate Ramos was subsequently placed in the Special Housing Unit pending a thorough investigation of the incident. He will remain in the Special Housing Unit until the conclusion of this investigation."

Prison officials have interviewed six inmates associated with the assault, Tancredo added. The congressman said he is working to move the former agent to a facility where Ramos will be safe.

Representatives of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, visited the facility with Tancredo. Tara Setmayer, Rohrabacher's communications director, said she was astonished at the injuries Ramos sustained.

Setmayer said Reese refused to allow her, or Tancredo, to view photos taken of Ramos the night of the incident or any documents regarding the ongoing investigation into the case.

"To underestimate the seriousness of the assault on (Ramos) is a disingenuous characterization by the prison officials," Setmayer said. "He clearly is the victim of a vicious attack. And the ineptitude demonstrated by prison officials with such a high-profile prisoner is troubling."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Update on Border Security Issues

According to the El Paso Times, Ramos, one of the border patrol agents serving time for incidents surrounding his alleged shooting of a drug smuggler, has been beaten in prison by an inmate group believed to be comprised of illegal aliens convicted of felonies in the U.S.

On another front... reports Tyson Foods will be in court next month defending itself against RICO violations. Legal workers are suing under the federal racketeering law claiming Tyson's illegal actions depressed wages as much as 30%.

Employers complain that the federal government’s employment verification program for determining the authenticity of a job candidate’s documents has never worked although that was unlikely to be a factor in this case based on the blatant wage differential between legals and illegals.

Last year, the Zirkle Fruit Co., a fruit grower in Selah, Washington, paid out $1.3 million in a case brought by legal workers who accused Zirkle of hiring undocumented employees to keep from paying the legally mandated minimum wage.

The Tyson suit includes back pay for depressed wages of 35000 workers. Wow, better stock your freezer with chicken!

Cable Bill Brings Out Bizarre Partisanship

HB2069, a bill that shifts control of local cable franchises from the municipality to the state, passed committee 6-4 along party lines. Here's the rub: Republicans voted for state control, Democrats voted for local control. Some legislators admittedly did not bother to read the bill. Even so, why would Republicans support the loss of local control with an issue like this? Why should we care? Because local control is important when it comes to media and information availability as expressed by Tucson City that wants to enforce its agreement to get the public channels back.

So far there are lots of questions and the only answer appears to be that Cox Cable has an amazing lobbyist.

The bill does not appear to have been heard in the Rules Committee so there will likely be no more action until next week at the earliest.

Here's how they voted.
Republicans who voted for: John Nelson-Chair; Jerry Weiers-Vice Chair; Marian McClure; Adam Driggs; Lucy Mason; Russell Pearce
Democrats who voted against: Albert Tom; Tom Prezelski; Theresa Ulmer; Manny Alvarez

Phone number to the Arizona House of Representatives: 1-800-352-8404

CORRECTION: Albert Tom voted FOR and Marian McClure voted AGAINST

Thursday, February 08, 2007

McCain's Blogger Problem

There are many interesting trends to follow in the upcoming election season. One that I like to look at will be the influence of the blogosphere on the upcoming contests, and what that will mean to future elections. Currently, I believe the influence is minimal, especially in the general election process, but it is growing and could become a factor, especially in the primaries.

That being said, the blogosphere clearly has an issue with John McCain. Take for instance the online polling done by pajamas media. This site, I would argue is pretty representative of the general state of right leaning bloggers, and is not made up of conservative fire eaters. McCain polls at 2.7% That has to be disconcerting.

Now do a search for a McCain blog. I googled "McCain Blog" and I get a site that auto-gathers McCain-based news feeds, a bunch of anti-McCain blogs, and one that looked promising until I checked the date of the last posting. Indeed, our area's own Thinkright Arizona and Political Mafioso are about as prominent as can be generally found touting McCain, and even they give other issues more or equal time to their McCain coverage.

McCain has recognized this of course, and hired a blogger, which seems to be the "in" thing to do (although I am not expecting any pay day soon.) Although Patrick Hynes has a good pedigree, I'm not sure that he has the stature to combat the problem that hurts McCain with bloggers.

What are these problems? I believe that they are twofold.

1. McCain-Feingold. Many bloggers, wrongly or rightly, equate this bill with the crushing of free speech and liken it to an "incumbent protection program." They believe it unfairly tilts power away from the average citizen in favor of the news room who is free to run any article or opinion about an issue or candidate right before the election, while a private citizen is not allowed to do the same. Issues about free speech as pertaining to blogs also appear every once in a while, and McCain is usually linked to them in some form, again, rightly or wrongly.

2. McCain's relationship with the press. If you show up on Meet the Press so much you have your own coffee mug, the blogosphere will not like you. There is an inherent distrust of the major media outlets, which many bloggers use as their justification for even being bloggers. There are very few candidates who can bridge the gap between Media darling and Internet icon. McCain is an example of the first, Howard Dean is an example of the second. Note that this can go both ways. Look what the Mainstream Media did to Howard Dean after his defeat in Iowa.

Now, as I was preparing to write this article, I thought to myself that I was making a mountain out of a molehill. However, it appears that Team McCain is on the same page and is attempting to do something about it.

Keep in mind, however, that the blogosphere is not as powerful as many of us would like to believe. It is very possible that McCain's major media starpower will simply be too much to be dimmed by a pesky pack of bloggers. After all, the mainstream media is mainstream for a reason. It is likely that a plurality of the voters who decide the primary and general election have never read a single blog, and have no plans on starting. It is my opinion, however, that McCain needs to continue his outreach.

After all, should it come down to the general election, who would a good Republican candidate rather have covering his back, a dedicated, perhaps fanatical network of bloggers, or the Mainstream Media?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Frank Antenori- Got Leadership?

During my twenty years in the Army, I served under some great leaders, as well as some guys that wore general stars on their collar and thought they were leaders. The troops quickly detected the phony façade of those generals that used their political skills to get to the top, sacrificing their integrity, honor and most of all the respect of their troops to do so.

Then there were the leaders you would follow to hell and back. Not because they wore a star on their collar, but because they earned your respect, established trust and could be counted on when the going got tough, even if it was at the expense of their own careers. These were the men I came to admire, and now they are what I and the rest of the country are looking for.

Where are they? The Republican Party was once filled with them; men of honor, men of conviction, men of principle. Men that elected to choose the hard right over the easy wrong; today these men are hard to find. The Republican Party is in search of new leaders because the current crop has let our party down.

They have abandoned the principles of smaller government, less spending, lower taxes and have become drunk with power. Power they thought could be retained by giving out entitlements to constituents and earmarks to special interests, even if it meant bankrupting the country in the process.

They sold out their base in an effort to appease the media and kiss up to what they thought were “swing voters.” They thought if they just kept talking like Republicans but acted like Democrats, they could keep their power. They were horribly wrong and not only did their wrong-headedness and convoluted thinking bring them down, but it brought the Republican Party down with them.

Integrity and accountability have been exchanged for corruption and finger pointing. Conviction and commitment have given way to capitulation and abandonment of our party principles. They led our party astray and now we are left like a ship at sea with no Captain to guide it. So as a party, WE THE PEOPLE must stand up and take the helm.

It’s time for new leadership in this party; leadership that can get the party back on track. The American people want leadership that re-establishes credibility and trust. Americans aren’t stupid; they know a patsy and a puppet politician when they see one. You know what I’m talking about, “that guy” that’s in there because he’s in the back pocket of special interests and the elites. “That guy” might win a few elections at the lower levels, but when the time comes where he might be entrusted with real power, the people will know him, won’t trust him, and will abandon him.

Americans not only want to vote for someone they can trust, but for someone that will take charge. Someone who will drive the train and not just ride in the caboose. They want leaders with vision and a plan to make our country stronger, secure our children’s economic future and provide security. They want leaders that will stand up to the tyranny and oppression from those both within our borders and from overseas. Most of all, people want leaders that are positive and give them hope for the future, not ones that act beaten and destitute.

While Democrats tried to fill that tall order by running candidates that mimicked the core Republican principles of family values, fiscal responsibility, and government accountability they fell way short of achieving those principles that brought Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1980 and gained Republican control of the House of Representatives in 1994. As a party, we and our future leaders need to get back to the basics and start applying those principles.

For these core principles are what united our party in the 80’s and 90’s. They are the principles that held up the roof of the “Big Tent” that Reagan talked about. They are the principles all Republicans can rally behind, whether they be staunch conservatives or moderates.

Those principles are:

Less spending

Lower taxes

Reducing the size and scope of the Federal Government

Promoting individual independence and self reliance

Reducing the reliance on the government

Respect for the not only the law but the spirit of the law

A strict adherence to the Constitution

Defending Liberty and Freedom from oppression

and Making our country more secure

We as a party need to unite around these core principles. We need to tone down the intra-party rhetoric. We need to knock off the name calling, the attaching of labels like RINO and adhere to the 11th commandment. And we must remain civil when we discuss issues near and dear to our hearts so as to not damage our candidates or our message.

If we do this, we will once again become the “Grand Old Party” of Lincoln and Reagan. We will set ourselves apart from the Democrats, particularly the ones that want America to fail, become weakened and to retreat in the face of our enemies.

We shall show the American people that there’s a difference between the pride of individual freedom and the chains of socialism. That in the face of adversity, Republicans have the conviction of Churchill, not the capitulation and appeasement mentality of Chamberlain.

Lastly I’d like to close by saying we need to act like a team. We need to keep our party differences within the party, not air them in the media. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, our party leadership and our candidates and fight like hell for what we believe.

Whether it be soldiers on the battlefield or gladiators on the gridiron, if we act like a team and play like a team, we’ll win like a team.


Frank Antenori is a retired Special Forces Soldier and veteran of Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also a former candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in Congressional District Eight.

Against My Better Judgment

There is a reason why bloggers are rarely on the radio, on TV, or running as successful candidates. However, against my better judgment. . .

When: Saturday, February 17th, 2006 at 3:00 PM

Where: KVOI, 690 AM Inside Track

Who: Your friendly Neighborhood Framer

What: I will be discussing blogging in general, and local blogging in particular, especially as it pertains to the future in politics, unless I am derailed by the callers. I also believe that Arizona 8th contributor Mike Hellon will be on earlier in the show.

Why: Because people enjoy these train wreck type of things. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cable Fact Sheet from the City of Tucson

HB2069: municipal rental inspections; technical correction
S/E: cable television licensing
Sponsor: Nelson (R-12)
City of Tucson | Intergovernmental Relations | Director – C Mary Okoye
255 West Alameda | Tucson, AZ 85701 | 520.791.5200 O | 520.791.4555 F

A Strike-Everything amendment to HB 2069 is being proposed by the cable industry to be considered by the House of Representatives Counties, Municipalities and Military Affairs (CMMA) Committee on Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 1:30 p.m.

The amendment proposes to require a municipality or a county that does not reach a new cable licensing agreement by July 1, 2007 (realistically only the City of Tucson), to renew the license under the existing license terms. The amendment would automatically adjust existing service obligations to those specified in Laws 2006, Chapter 2 (HB 2812: licensing procedures; cable television), in violation of the contracts clause of the Federal Constitution which prohibits a state from impairing the existing obligations of cable providers under holdover cable licenses. State common franchise law allows for a licensee to continue operating under the terms of the license/franchise agreement upon expiration until a new agreement is reached.

Additionally, the amendment would interfere with efforts by the City of Tucson to reach a cable license renewal agreement with the current provider. The amendment has the potential to affect only the City of Tucson, which would make this Special Legislation. The only two other jurisdictions that have not yet reached an agreement will do so prior to the proposed effective date of the amendment – which the cable service provider has admitted.

Cox Communications argues that this amendment is needed because the City of Tucson is attempting to delay negotiations and is not acting in good faith. This is not true. The City of Tucson set an aggressive timetable in order to complete the formal process by the June 30, 2007 deadline imposed by last year’s cable legislation.

Cox Communications, not the City of Tucson, insisted on a formal cable license renewal process, pursuant to federal law. This is potentially a very lengthy process that can take up to 3 years. Part of the formal process includes hiring consultants to assess the communities cable related needs and interests, retaining focus groups and a contracting with technical consultants to assess the Cox system.

It was the City of Tucson who encouraged a more streamlined informal process as do most jurisdictions and as is encouraged by the Federal Cable Act.

We have been negotiating with Cox on this aggressive schedule and believed that we were close to an agreement when Cox suddenly broke off negotiations.

The issue holding up negotiations is the digital divide issue - which the Mayor and Council asked staff to pursue because they want Public, Education and Government (PEG) channels to be available to all subscribers whether or not the subscribe to the more expensive digital service.

Cable Conundrum

Via Arizona Eighth contributor, Randy Graf:

Cox Communications here in Tucson is at it again. They are in Phoenix at the State Legislature attempting to get the state to do their bidding against the City of Tucson (and against us)!

Cox will tell the public that they want to lower our rates. The state can limit the City of Tucson in the negotiations of a new franchise agreement. Cox got the state to do just that with legislation last year (I will save about $4 per year, thanks Cox!), now they want them to help speed up the timetable forcing the City into an untenable negotiating position.

Cox Communications needs to come clean. While I was still serving as House Majority Whip in the Arizona House of Representatives, Cox’s Tucson boss Ms. Anne Doris, wrote me a letter intentionally misrepresenting federal law. She wrote the same letter to County Administrator Huckelberry and in the print media in an attempt (and a successful one at this point in time) to not have to live up to their current agreement with Pima County.

Why the County does not demand that Cox fulfill the franchise agreement it has with the County can only lead to scratching my head. Bureaucrats don’t want to make waves and our elected officials refuse to do anything. Cox throws money around sponsoring this and that and donating antique computers to schools to get front page publicity as a steward of the community. And they run tv ads all day long about the great service they give. Truth is a recent audit infers that Cox is under-serving and overcharging their customers.

While the City of Tucson has reasons for criticism, Cox Communications should be called on the carpet. Perhaps the blogosphere is the only place to do it. The bill is being heard as a strike everything amendment in the House Counties, Municipalities and Military Affairs Committee Tuesday, Feb. 6th at 1:30 pm.

Rep. Marian McClure, and Rep. Tom Prezelski, both serve on the Committee. Send them an e-mail or give them a call at 1-800-352-8404 and urge them to vote NO.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Framer's Law

By now, I am sure that most are coversant with Godwin's Law. Godwin's Law states:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Here's a new law, in much the same vein,

"As an online discussion thread concerning Mitt Romney grows longer, the probability of an anti-Mormon bigot hijacking the thread approaches one."

Not that this has happened on my site, as our posters are of a little better pedigree, and we do not discuss Romney very much. It is just interesting that there is a subset of people with so much irrational hate that they would use any excuse to attack members of a particular faith.

Just an observation.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Utah is an example. . .

Utah is an example of what can happen when you hold your party together.

The Arizona State GOP passes a resolution supporting school vouchers.

Utah goes ahead and passes it into law.

Sure would be nice if we could come together to do something like that. Our children certainly deserve better than what they have been getting.

Activists Demand Support for President's Plan

Monday, Sen. John W. Warner will join Republicans in voting to block his own resolution condemning the President's new Iraq strategy. We're not sure what swayed him, but there were 32,000 signatures on a petition from people who said that they would refuse to give so much as a penny to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) if Republicans who voted for the Warner bill were later supported by the NRSC.

The message could be intrepreted to be, "You either stick together as Republicans now, or hang together in the next election."

Right now it appears that there are more than enough GOP members on board to filibuster a vote on the resolution.

(framer)Update- That would be all 49 Republicans. Possibly Lieberman as well. Finally, Leadership. Thank you John McCain.

McCain to the Rescue

It appears that John McCain is fighting a Warner-Hagelian decent into madness.

If his resolution excites constant McCain critic Hugh Hewitt, he may have indeed hit the sweet spot.

Congratulations John McCain on a display of leadership, something severely lacking by Republicans in our National Legislature today.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Democrat Leaders Not Spared Scrutiny

Some say "Don't point fingers when you're wallowing in the same mire."

The media recently picked up these stories on the new House and Senate leadership:

According to USA Today, Nancy Pelosi, fourth-ranking House Democrat Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh failed to disclose they are officers of their family charities as required by law much like Tom Daschle's offense.

Pelosi is also demanding personal use of military aircraft for herself, relatives and just about everyone else. According to the Washington Times: "They are pressing the point of her succession and that the [Department of Defense] needs to play ball with the speaker's needs.” Although a Speaker's use of planes is not unusual, it's usually reserved only for the Speaker, not family, friends, and fellow congressmen. Cost is a huge issue as the planes are staffed with full crew including stewards, a bar, lots of food and other niceties.

Much like the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere, Harry Reid bought undeveloped land in Arizona at cutthroat prices and now he's trying to get federal earmarks to pay for a new bridge across the Colorado River right next to his property. Shortly after the special deal on the land, he introduced a bill to help the seller's business. At least his bridge is to somewhere even if it is to his backyard.